SportAccord has announced that the Russian city of Sochi will host the inaugural edition of multi-sport event the World Beach Games in 2019.
The announcement was made during the general assembly of the SportAccord Convention, which is currently being held in Sochi. The umbrella body for more than 100 international sports federations and organisations is set to take a far greater role in the organisation of an event that was originally due to be held in partnership with the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).
In November, ANOC gave initial approval to the introduction of an international multi-sport event to the world sports calendar from 2017. The event was due to be run by SportAccord and the ANOC, which comprises over 200 member National Olympic Committees (NOCs) recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The SportAccord-ANOC event was set to be introduced following the successful launch of the Asian Beach Games in 2008, a competition that combines traditional sand sports with water sports and those sports played near beaches. The biennial Asian event has grown significantly since its launch six years ago with the 2014 edition, which took place in Phuket, Thailand, featuring more than 6,000 athletes from 45 countries.
South America also introduced its own Beach Games in 2009 while ANOC president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said in November that Africa and the Mediterranean region are both in the process of preparing to stage their own version of the Games.
Despite the latest announcement, SportAccord president Marius Vizer said ANOC could still be involved in its plans, adding that the door was not “closed” to it or the NOCs.